No other nation prohibits women from driving or indeed moving in any capacity without male consent. As of today, Saudi women are protesting the kingdom’s driving ban from behind the wheel of their cars. These women unnerve the state, for while popular opinion is on their side, so, too, is Islam.
When I moved to Saudi Arabia to practice medicine from 1999-2001, I left my car in New York. For the first time, as a Muslim woman, Islam was now the basis for my confinement and not my freedom.
The Saudi driving prohibition was “cultural” until Nov. 6, 1990, when 47 veiled Saudi women defied the ban and drove in a 14-vehicle convoy on the King Abdul Aziz highway in Riyadh. They were inspired by American female GIs in their military vehicles during Desert Storm and by Kuwaiti women who had arrived in the kingdom as Saddam Hussein attacked >>>